Dan's Dugout: Fish Cry Foul For Third Time • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Fish Cry Foul For Third Time

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MIAMI – The Fish are on the hook again.

As the baseball world gathers for the All-Star Game Tuesday, the talk of the town is the pending sale of the Miami Marlins.

Jeffrey Loria, the mercurial New York art dealer who owns the club, wants out – and wants to get a ridiculous price for a franchise certain be weakened further from a pending fire sale.

Again.

This will be the third time in the club’s short history that its stars will be discarded like baseball cards with bent corners.

Giancarlo Stanton may soon be wearing another uniform

Giancarlo Stanton may soon be wearing another uniform

If Loria can find any takers for Giancarlo Stanton’s contract, originally $325 million for 13 years, he’ll send the 27-year-old slugger packing.

Ditto for fellow outfielder Christian Yelich, a sudden star this year, and versatile Martin Prado, who plays everything but the bass fiddle. Fleet second baseman Dee Gordon and closer A.J. Ramos are up for grabs too, along with virtually anybody else on the pitching staff.

The team never recovered from the loss of Jose Fernandez, arguably the league’s best pitcher, in a midnight boating accident last fall. Even with Fernandez, Miami’s pitching was questionable at best. Without him, they’re fighting to stay afloat in the National League East.

This is not what manager Don Mattingly bargained for when he left the helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the deepest pockets in the majors.

Whether Loria can find any takers is uncertain at best. At least three known groups have shown enough interest to start raising money, though the pre-set price of $1.3 billion is something only Stanton could afford – if he wanted to become the first player-owner in baseball history.

The competition for the club almost looks like the Republican presidential primary, with Jeb Bush

Will Derek Jeter buy the Miami Marlins? Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Will Derek Jeter buy the Miami Marlins?
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

and Mitt Romney’s son Tagg the top contenders. Derek Jeter has been allied with the former Florida governor, while Tom Glavine is tagging along with Tagg for reasons unknown.

It’s hard to visualize Jeter with any team but the Yankees or Glavine anywhere but Atlanta. But baseball breeds strange bedfellows.

One thing is certain: with the trade deadline just three weeks away, the Marlins are getting more phone calls than any team in the major leagues.

The other 29 teams are swirling over Miami like hungry vultures, ready to pick the Marlins clean and leave a pile of fish bones in their wake.

For the few fans left, the whole circus is a sad sample of bad history repeating itself.

Mike Piazza's path to Cooperstown went through Miami Credit: Dan Schlossberg

Mike Piazza’s path to Cooperstown went through Miami
Credit: Dan Schlossberg

After winning wold championships with rosters of overpaid veterans, the Marlins went naked, stripping the club of both stars and salaries. Remember Mike Piazza? He was in Florida for only a week when the Fish flipped him to the Mets, where he rejuvenated that franchise and hammered his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Giancarlo Stanton is likely to do the same – for anyone who wants a powerful rightfielder with matinee idol credentials. And maybe, just maybe, the Marlins will eat some of the remaining revenues he’s owed.

Given the circumstances, the Marlins have a golden opportunity to rebuild their farm system and get rid of Loria at the same time. If he wants to be Ambassador to France, at least he’ll be out of the country and no further danger to Major League Baseball.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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